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Give thanks by giving food

Jupiterimages/Thinkstockphotos.comTake a goodie basket to your neighbor, workplace or to those who are less fortunate than yourself.
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TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Put the and#8220;givingand#8221; back in Thanksgiving this month by spreading end-of-the-year cheer to the less fortunate. With the fragile state of the economy striking down our neighborsand#8217; wallets and perhaps more devastatingly, our family and friendsand#8217; morale, the gift of holiday food is truly something to cherish.

For many of us, Thanksgiving equates to a fully-fledged feast that bellies, much less the dining room table, can hardly support. The dayand#8217;s leftovers become the weekand#8217;s leftovers, and inevitably, good food is put to waste.

While the grass may be greener on the other side, itand#8217;s important to remember that someone elseand#8217;s grass is always worse than our own. This Thanksgiving, count your blessings and give the gift of food to those who arenand#8217;t as fortunate. Here are four simple, frugal ways to spread joy this month:-



Make goodie baskets

Whenever you hit up the grocery store for Thanksgiving staples soon, drop a few extra canned and boxed goods in your basket. Because grocery stores know customers are likely to buy in bulk for the big feast, special savings on multi-item packs are everywhere, making it cost-effective to buy more food. Instead of using those deals to stock up for your own family smorgasbord, arrange these items in homemade gift baskets to donate to those in need. Not sure where to go from there? Call a local shelter for information on where to deliver, and theyand#8217;ll be more than happy to help.-



Host a food drive-

Take on the philanthropic spirit this month, and host your own food drive for those in need at your workplace, church or neighborhood school. Round up friends, family and neighbors with cans, boxes and more foods to give to the community. Whether the donations are monetary or edible, drop off what you receive to a local food bank or shelter.-

Hold a bake sale

If youand#8217;d rather bake than buy, spreading Thanksgiving joy is easy to share through the magic of pie, cookies, cakes, tarts, brownies and more. Host a bake sale at a community hot spot, and donate all proceeds to the food bank. Ask your family and friends to bake a few goodies and to the non-bakers, have them spread the word. One should check local health codes before proceeding, just in case.

In order to save at the store for your ingredients, look for in-store coupons and online deals before you shop and remember to bring a shopping list.

Invite your neighbors in need

The easiest way to give back is to invite more mouths to feed at your Thanksgiving feast. Whether an elderly friend who is housebound, an unemployed neighbor or a family new to the neighborhood, show others the spirit of Thanksgiving by gathering around the dining room table. And since the Thanksgiving spread is the gift that keeps on giving, donand#8217;t forget to have Tupperware ready to distribute leftovers after the big meal.

These four tips are only the starting point of Thanksgiving generosity. Though food may be something we take for granted each day, the Thanksgiving feast is much more than a big gathering around big meal. Itand#8217;s a big-hearted blessing for your own family and those around us.–

and#8212; Sheri Alzeerah is a journalist and freelance writer for meal planning service http://www.foodonthetable.com


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